I am currently collaborating with my friend Dan to write a musical. It's something we've been talking about doing for a while now, but I had to wait for the right idea to come along before I could make any progress on it. Obviously, I did plenty of other things in the meantime, including but not limited to work, sleep, other writing, and idea farming. Yes, idea farming: reading, listening, watching, and interacting with people are the ways that I sow when I want to be able to reap ideas at harvest-time.
The idea for the musical emerged when I was--of all things--listening to an old-timey variety show on the radio.
When I think about it, the conflict of the musical is that the main character has misunderstood her calling in life, and has focused on goals that are impossible for her to attain. She stumbles upon the key to her success completely unexpectedly. It happens while she is interacting with people (while wallowing in her failure). Sometimes, the very actions of idea farming are what allow you to see all the ideas that are naturally growing wild beyond the fence.
Do you do anything in particular to cultivate your ideas? Or is it more of an organic process? (Like that? I've got more wordplay where that came from!) How do you get your ideas?